Nostalgic Lives: Memory And Place In Sidi Ifni
This dissertation is about the role of space and memory in Sidi Ifni, Morocco. Through analysis of stories I was told during my stay, I argue that multiple temporal frameworks can coexist in the present as a way of reproducing the past and re-conceptualizing the future. These stories are the product of a dialectic that is itself structured by such social structures as kinship and gender. I use personal accounts of townspeople to discuss the ways that social identity is produced and contextualized in this town. Sidi Ifni’s history is located in the nexus of Moroccan nationalist goals, Spanish colonial ideals, and local Berber ways of life. Beginning with nostalgic memories of a particular Spanish woman, Maria, I work to show the ways that people’s imaginings of the past are quite present in quotidian life. The second chapter is an exploration of the construction of “otherness” in the context of multiple readings of history and memory. People’s control of authority and power is reproduced through the work they do to establish meaning and memory. The third chapter is concerned with a polyvocal historical account of Sidi Ifni’s relationship to the Western Sahara. King Hassan II’s claim to “Greater Morocco” was in direct opposition to Franco’s notion of a Spanish “embrace of Africa”. Sidi Ifni was the center of these competing nationalist ideologies. People’s stories about the war and its ongoing presence in lives frames this chapter. The fourth chapter turns to a more detailed discussion of the connections between gender, kinship and place. These are shown to be mutually constitutive and located in the myriad representations of propriety and historicity found in Sidi Ifni. The conclusion synthesizes the dominant themes of the dissertation: place, memory and storytelling. I argue that through nostalgia, the processes of daily life come to have meaning in Sidi Ifni.
dissertation or thesis